Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


School of Communication and Media

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Christine Lemesianou

Committee Member

Todd Kelshaw

Committee Member

Philip Bakelaar


Numerous people move from country to country and change homes each year by crossing cultural boundaries for various reasons and cultural adaptation is becoming a common experience for many, especially for students and teachers. In terms of theory, the present study employed Kim’s (2001) stress-adaptation-growth dynamic. Also, the study was grounded in the interpretive paradigm and the particular methods used were interviewing and textual analysis. The focus of this study was to investigate the central descriptors that students and teachers used to define themselves, the common challenges and opportunities that professors and students face when they are adapting to new cultures, and MSU’s preparation for its professors’ and students’ adaptation and professors’ and students’ perception of MSU in terms of cultural adaptation strategies and diversity. The key findings of the study indicated that for both student and teacher participants, personality, role, and interpersonal descriptors were central to the definitions of self. Neither students nor teachers focused on structural identity markers such as nationality, race, etc. Language, cultural differences, stereotypes, cultural literacy, patterns of thinking, and social support were the challenges that were identified by students. The challenges that were identified by teachers were, language, social support, differences in education system and learning, school success, cultural differences, and stereotypes. The opportunities that were stated by student and teacher participants were learning about one’s self and personal characteristics, finding out more about their native culture, and appreciating other cultures and diversity. The results of the study also showed that there is an explicit effort that MSU makes in terms of cultural diversity and MSU shows us its recognition of cultural diversity in various ways. Overall, on the surface level, MSU values cultural diversity. In addition, based on the interviews it can be stated that participants also think that cultural diversity is recognized as important at MSU. Moreover, MSU has several programs, events, orientations, and publications that aim to prepare teachers and students to deal with cultural adaptation. The major problem is that the existing programs are not publicized widely enough and they are not targeting the specific stakeholders.

File Format